Condenser Coils Failing? Here’s probably why….

Did you recently turn on your DX systems only to find your Condenser Coils are not working?  Simple fix right?  Unfortunately, no.  If you get lucky, you can send us the model number of the unit, and there’s a great chance we’ve already built it.  In the case that we do not have that model number on file, you have two options.  You can go back to Carrier and wait two months for an OEM part while paying through the roof.  Or you call Capital Coil, and we’ll walk you through the engineering it takes to replace a condenser coil.                                                                      Condenser Coil

Very rarely do condenser coils ever freeze so the first thing you’re going to want to know is if your coil died of corrosion, old age, or possibly vibration.  Old age is obviously preferable because with a few easy dimensions, we’ll have enough to price up your duplicate coil.  Condenser coils are usually outside and are easily accessible for measurements and digital pictures.  With just the size, the rows, and fins/inch, you can get a price.  And digital pictures of the headers and return bends will give us a good idea of the circuiting and sub-cooler circuits. 

If the coil has been eaten away by corrosion, it was an improper design to begin with.  Most people don’t know that salt in the air will ruin aluminum fins within a year or two.  There are two ways to combat this.  The first option is to make the switch to copper fins and stainless steel casings.  While this will extend the life of your coil considerably, most people are not too happy about the additional cost over aluminum fins.  The second option is to use a coating.  Coatings are the much more popular choice.  They are a fraction of the cost as copper fins and only add one week to your lead time. 

When your HVAC coils are installed near a moving piece of equipment, vibration can occur and cause leaks.  The area where these leaks occur is very important and will clue you in to if the problem is vibration.  If they are near the tube sheet and look like they are slicing through the tube, the coils should be isolated from the rest of the system to prevent vibration from causing damage.  One way to combat this is by oversizing the tubesheet holes, but many manufacturers will not do this.  Condenser coils are usually the most common victims of vibration.

The last concern is with cleaning condenser coils.  Since condenser coils see outside air almost exclusively, they need to be cleaned more than other coils.  The reason for this is most condenser coils have fin spacing of 12-20 fins/inch.  With fins that tight together, the coil can and will act like a filter.  And when the coil is clogged up, the performance suffers greatly.  Recently, we’ve been getting more and more calls about using a heavier fin thickness.  This is to help with high pressure cleaning and corrosive cleaning agents. 

When dealing with an HVAC coil manufacturer, partner up with one who will walk you through the engineering and explain it along the way. Capital Coil & Air has well over a decade of experience and has seen every issue to make sure your everything from the quote to the installation go smoothly! Give us a try on your next project!

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Coils and Counter-flow: 5 Common Questions

1)  Coils and counter-flow?

The first thing to remember about coils and counter-flow is that chilled water coils are always built to be piped in counter-flow. This means that the air flows in the opposite direction as the water. For example, with counter-flow, the air flows through rows 1-8, while the water runs through rows 8-1. Water always travels through the coil in the opposite direction of the air; hence the term “counter-flow.”  Direct Expansion Coils (Evaporator Coils) are also piped in the same manner.

With that said, what happens when you do not pipe cooling coils counter-flow? Almost all coil selection programs you will see or use will be based on counter-flow conditions. If you opt to not counter-flow a chilled water coil, you’ll have to reduce the coil’s overall performance by a certain percentage. That percentage reduction varies based on each coil’s unique dimensions, but a reliable estimate is a loss of 8-12%. Simply piping the coils in the correct manner from the beginning would seem to be the easiest and most cost-effective solution.

2)  Why do you feed from the bottom of the coil?

Counter-Flow

You always want to feed a water coil from the bottom connection so that the header fills from the bottom on up and feeds every tube connection evenly. All tubes must be fed evenly with the same amount of water. If you try to feed the header from the top, you greatly increase the risk of “short circuiting” the coil and having a higher water flow through the top tubes in the coil.

3)  What is a Water Hammer in a Steam Coil?

On a long Steam Coil, you will be hard pressed to get the steam through the length of the coil. Slowly but surely, that steam converts into condensate, which is pretty much the worst thing that can happen to any system. If not evacuated, the condensate just lays in the coil when the system is shut off. This problem comes into play when the steam is turned back on and meets the condensate laying inside the coil. In addition to the noise, the steam and condensate cause huge amounts of additional stress on the coil’s joints. As a result, over time, your coil will inevitably fail.

4)  What else happens if you do not evacuate condensate?

When you cannot or do not evacuate the condensate on long steam coils, the condensate ends up blocking the steam. A steam coil should never feel cool to the touch, but when condensate blocks steam, one part of the coil will be warm while the other will be cool. Again, that should not happen. Steam coils are interesting in that they are more dependent upon the system and installation than any other type of coil. A steam coil must be pitched to the return end of the coil. Obviously, steam is not water.Traps, vacuum breakers and other steam accessories must be installed and located properly for the system to function.

5)  Is it necessary to pipe steam and/or hot water coils in counter-flow?

Simply put – no! Circuiting a coil is only necessary to ensure the connections are on the side of the coil that you want. The rows and tubes in the coil dictate how and where you feed, but the steam supply always needs to be the high connection. This method ensures that the leaving condensate is on the bottom of the coil and below the lowest tube within the coil. Whatever else you do, know that the condensate must leave the coil!

If you have any questions or need assistance with ordering and/or installation, please contact a sales engineer at Capital Coil & Air. We will walk with you step-by-step through your entire project should you require any assistance. CALL OR E-MAIL US!  We look forward to the opportunity to work with you on your future projects.

 

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Boca Raton Hospital Covid-19 Care Condenser Coils

In (3) days, Capital Coil & Air Manufactured and Delivered (4) Large Condenser Coils!!

A large HVAC contractor in South Florida recently contacted Capital Coil & Air with a request to modify an existing system of Carrier 38 Series Microchannel Coils with (4) large condenser coils on an emergency basis. The main goal was to change over from microchannel to standard copper tube/aluminum fin condenser coils. The one expressed requirement for this project was that this change needed to happen very quickly. See below for a summary and timeline of the project:

Condenser Coils
  1. Monday – The contractor reached out to Capital Coil & Air with the required information needed for new condenser coils.
  2. Tuesday – Capital Coil calculated the changeover from microchannel to standard coils for this retrofit. Capital Coil & Air then provided all of the necessary engineering and pricing data for the order. Included were all of the condenser coil drawings, ready for the customer’s approval, as well as all of the needed IOM’s (Installation, Operation & Maintenance Manual) for eventual installation.
  3. Wednesday – By Wednesday morning, the contractor approved the drawings and allowed the project to move forward. Construction on the coils began that afternoon. In less than 1.5 days, this job went from a brief phone discussion into full production!
  4. Friday – The coils were completed, crated and made ready to ship in less than 48 hours after production commenced. Capital Coil then contacted FedEx to ensure that the coils would be picked up that same Friday and overnighted to South Florida for Saturday delivery to the jobsite.
  5. Saturday – The contractor received the condenser coils and installation was completed that same weekend!

In all, the time from the original phone call to installation occurred in less than a week. Capital Coil takes great pride in our response times, as well as our ability to handle projects in emergency situations.

For various reasons, the HVAC industry has always required quick-shipments. Capital Coil’s 99% success rate with quick-shipments over the last 5+ years has us particularly well-suited to handle whatever situations may occur during the Covid-19 emergency. Please do not take any chances with “untested” manufacturers right now, and please consider Capital Coil for all of your quick-ship needs!!

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10 Things To Know About Chilled Water Coils

Chilled Water Coil

1. A water coil is a water coil. There is really no difference between hot water coils and a chilled water coils in construction. Hot water coils are usually 1 or 2 rows and chilled water coils are usually 3 to 12 rows deep.

2. The vast majority of chilled water coils are constructed from either 1/2″ OD tubes or 5/8″ OD tubes. A lot of that depends on the tooling of the original equipment manufacturer and what is more economical. Either size can be used and substituted for each other, which makes replacing your coil that much easier.

3. 1/2″ Tubes are on 1.25″ center to center distance. 5/8″ tubes are on 1.5″ center to center distance. For example, if a chilled water coil has a 30″ fin height, there will be (24) 1/2″ tubes per row or (20) 5/8″ tubes per row. The tube area of the coil is remarkably the same. They are almost interchangeable.

4. The quality of the coil often times is directly tied to the tube thickness. Many installations have water not treated properly or tube velocities that are too high. There are few perfect installations in real life. Increasing the tube wall thickness on a chilled water coil is a great way to ensure longer life.

5. Fins make great filters! Of course, they are not designed to be filters, but it happens. You can make any coil cheaper by making them 14 fins/inch with less rows rather than 8 or 10 fins/inch. Just remember that deep coils are very difficult to clean. Cheap is not the way to go most of the time!

6. Fins are designed for maximum heat transfer. They are much more complicated in design than they appear to be when looking at the chilled water coil. They are rippled on the edge to break up the air. They are corrugated throughout the depth of the fin. The tubes are staggered from row to row and the fin collars are extended. All of this to maximize heat transfer. Unfortunately, the byproduct of this is the fins can end up being great filters. Be careful in the design of any chilled water coil.

7. Fins are aluminum for a reason! They give you great heat transfer at an economical cost. You need a compelling reason to switch to copper fins as copper is very expensive, and you’re likely to double (or maybe triple) the cost of the coil. Coatings are popular for this very reason.

8. Many chilled water coils are built with 304 stainless steel casings. The casings are stronger, they last longer, they are stackable, and it’s fairly inexpensive. After all, what is the point of building the best coil possible and have the casing disintegrate over time around the coil? Sometimes, it’s money well spent!

9. Circuiting the coil is the tricky part of any coil. Circuiting is nothing more than the number of tubes that you want to feed from a header. There are two rules. You must keep the water velocity over 1 foot/second and below 6 feet/second. 3-4 feet/second is optimum. The second is the number of tubes that you feed must divide evenly into the number of tubes in the coil.

10. Replacing  your chilled water coil is easy. Rarely do you have to worry about the performance. When you replace a 20 year old coil, it is dirty and the fin/tube bond is not good. The coil is probably operating at 1/2 of its capacity at best. When you put a new coil on the job, your performance will automatically be terrific. Your main concern is now making the sure the coil physically fits in the space allowed. And always have this in the back of your mind: Smaller is always better than too large. Smaller you can always work with, whereas too large makes for a very ugly and expensive coffee table.

There you have it – everything you need to know about chilled water coils. Interested in learning more, please reach out to Capital Coil & Air! We look forward to the opportunity to be your coil replacement specialists!

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Chilled Water, DX (Expansion) Coils & Moisture Carryover

Moisture carryover is present on DX or Chilled Water coils where dehumidification happens.  Many people do not think it’s a problem…until you have moisture running down ductwork or spewing all over the inside of an air handler. If you’ve ever experienced that then you probably know all of these rules regarding moisture carryover.Chilled Water Coils

  • Entering air temperatures of 80/67 of return air in the Northeast carry far less moisture than an outside 95/78 entering air temperature in Florida. Outside air always has more moisture. Your location plays a part as well. The drain pans will absolutely have be sized differently. Florida’s will be much larger in size.
  • Fin design is irrelevant when it comes to moisture carryover. Whether you have copper corrugated fins, or aluminum flat fins, plate fins or even the old fashioned spiral fins, none of it has any effect on moisture carryover.
  • Lastly, be careful when installing a new chilled water or DX coil in a system. Many end users like to increase the airflow on older coils because those old coils can act like filters, the fins are covered in dirt/dust and you’re not getting the same airflow through the coil. This dirt on the coil also semi-prevents moisture carryover. When that brand new chilled water coil is installed, the airflow might be higher than that 550 ft/minute and that, of course, will cause moisture carryover problems. 

 

Please give us a call with any questions about your coil, your system or its design. Capital Coil’s engineering is unparalleled in the industry!

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IN NEED OF A COIL YESTERDAY??

Why are quick-ships so important??

With winter and various “polar-vortex’s” in full swing, time is not on your side if your current supplier isn’t able to meet your needs. Generally speaking, most jobs require some form of “quick-ship“.

Approximately 70% of all Capital Coil’s orders over the last (3) months have involved some sort of quick-ship. Quick-ships are an integral part of Capital Coil’s overall business structure, and for that specific reason, unlike other manufacturers, Capital Coil & Air NEVER shuts down its quick-ships!!! Steam Coil

You can call the OEM, but more times than not, they are not flexible or nimble enough to handle your emergency within an acceptable time-frame. Whether you need a coil in (3) weeks, or (5) days, Capital Coil has got you covered.

Quick-ships are generally based on emergency conditions, and that is precisely the worst time to discover that your regular supplier has suspended their quick-ships. When we call Capital Coil reliable and dependable, one of the main reasons is because of our ability to keep our quick-ship program open 12 months/year.

Capital Coil does not try to be all things to all customers, but quick-ships are an integral part of our business. Keeping our quick-ship program available all year is a top priority, and this has allowed us to hit 99.9% of our quick-ship requests over the last (3) years. An unfortunate forklift mistake makes up the other .1%. Through the last 3 months of 2019, approximately 75% of all orders were quick-ships, and they have either all been completed on time, or are 100% on schedule.

So why do so many manufacturers seem to get so overwhelmed at some point every year? Many manufacturers take on a glut of OEM business, or other large projects with small profit margins. In many cases they do this simply to keep the factory running during the slower periods of the year. This has the effect of delaying standard lead times, and in many cases, cancelling quick-ships altogether. It is very hard to do business with companies that make themselves unavailable when you need them the most.

An RFQ that sits on a desk unanswered is useless to everyone involved. If you need a quote, you’ll have your price and any required submittals that same day. It really is that simple and easy! Working with Capital Coil removes many of the annoying and unannounced shut-downs that come with other manufacturers, so please let us help you when you need it the most!

 

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